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Helping Professionals


Clinical Tools: Problem Gambling

  1. Screening Tools
  2. Diagnostic Tools
  3. Treatment Planning

Screening Tools

CAMH Gambling Screen

This tool, developed at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), is intended as a short screen to quickly identify people who might have a problem, but who are currently not seeking treatment for problem gambling.  The screen could be used by anyone who wants to investigate gambling as a possible issue without completing  a longer questionnaire.

Clients can use the CAMH Gambling Screen as a self-assessment tool, or you can use it as part of your screening process.

Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)

The PGSI is an abbreviated version of the original tool called the Canadian Problem Gambling Index, consisting of 9 items rather than 31. Clients can use it as a self-assessment tool, or you can use it as part of your screening process.

The original 31-item tool, which measures gambling involvement, problem gambling behaviour and adverse consequences, was initially developed to measure the prevalence of gambling and problem gambling in the general population. Research is currently being done to test its use with a treatment population.

Check Your Gambling

This five page questionnaire was developped by CAMH research scientist John Cunningham for V-CC Systems. It is completely anonymous and has been designed to help you, your loved ones or your health care professional answer some questions you might have about gambling.

GA 20 Questions

This questionnaire, which was developed by Gamblers Anonymous, is intended as a self-assessment for “compulsive gambling”.  It has not been scientifically tested and validated, so caution should be exercised in its use.

South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS)

The SOGS, which was developed in the US, is a 20-item questionnaire used to screen for “pathological gambling” in clinical settings.  This instrument was developed many years ago based on an inpatient population of males in a VA hospital.  Increasingly the field has identified limitations in the instrument, and  it is being used less and less in Canada.

South Oaks Gambling Screen - RA (SOGS-RA)

The SOGS-RA is a revised version of the SOGS that was developed in order to measure “pathological gambling” among adolescents.

Suicide Assessment

People who struggle with gambling problems often experience serious social, emotional, financial and health consequences.  For many, coping with the negative emotions related to these issues, can become just too overwhelming.  Feelings of shame, hopelessness and failure may seem too hard to bear.  And for some, suicide appears to be a solution to all of these problems.  As a result, appropriate screening for suicidality is crucial.

Diagnostic Tools

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria: Gambling Disorder

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is the primary system used to classify and diagnose mental health disorders.  The DSM criteria for “Gambling Disorder” is mostly used in the U.S. because many insurance companies in that country require an official diagnosis before they will cover the cost of treatment. This is not generally the case in Canada.

Treatment Planning

Family Support and Psychoeducational Group Manual for Problem Gambling

This manual provides information on developing and delivering a four-week psychoeducational support group for family members of people with gambling problems. Family is used as a broad term to describe anyone who has a significant relationship or role in the life of the gambling individual. The four-session group addresses the following topics: understanding problem gambling; communications; boundaries; and self-care and support.

Inventory of Gambling Situtations

Developed by scientists and clinicians at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), The Inventory of Gambling Situations is a clinical tool that allows addiction therapists and researchers to identify the situations in which clients with gambling problems are at risk for relapse. The IGS generates an individualized profile of a client’s gambling behaviour by identifying situations associated with the client’s gambling in the past year.

Printable Handouts for Clients

What Factors Can Put You at Greater Risk for Problems?,  Winning Ways to Keep Gambling Safe,  Is There a Gambling Problem in Your Family?,  Finding Help,  Self-Monitoring Gambling or Urges to Gamble,  Credit Counselling Services - Financial Options,  How to Quit or Reduce Your Gambling: Self-Help Workbook,  Translated Resources 

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DISCLAIMER: Information on this site is not to be used for diagnosis, treatment or referral services. CAMH does not provide diagnostic, treatment or referral services through the Internet.
CAMH accepts no responsibility for such use. Individuals should contact their personal physician, and/or their local addiction or mental health agency regarding any such services.
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